Date: 20 July 2013
I first heard about Hammer for Mac on Andy Clarke’s weekly podcast, Unfinished Business. Riot, the guys who make Hammer for Mac, have sponsored the show a good few times to date, and about a couple of months ago I thought I’d see what all the fuss was about. I grabbed a trial of the software and had a play with it. Within half an hour I’d bought the full version, and I hadn’t even tried out all of the features! Since downloading it I’ve already used it on a few projects, including the build of this website and have to say it really does help speed things up. At only £16.99 it’s a real bargain, and I really would have paid double.
If you’ve not heard of it before, or have heard of it but don’t know what it is, here’re some key points:
You know how sometimes you can forget the path for an image file, or some other file, and end up with broken links in your site from time to time? Not any more! Clever Paths allows you to just type in the name of the file, and that’s it. Hammer will search your entire project folder behind the scenes, and link everything up automagically, so you don’t have to. I know, but wait! It gets better…
If you’ve ever dabbled in PHP you’ll know what this is already. Includes basically allow you to create small snippet templates of code that will get reused on multiple pages of your site. For example, your site’s header. With Hammer, you write the code once, and save it as a template file. All you have to do is type a single line of code (not even a very long one) into your page, and Hammer inserts the rest.
Instead of manually having to go through all of your pages and changing the links in your nav bar to show which one is current, Hammer will do it for you. When Hammer sees that a link is pointing to your current page, it adds a class of “current”. All you have to do is decide how it will look in CSS.
Hammer uses the Bourbon library, and takes care of all the Ruby stuff for you. So, if you’ve been putting off learning SASS because all that Terminal Ruby stuff just freaks you out, worry no more! Likewise, if you’ve used SASS before but haven’t tried the Bourbon library, this is a great way to get to know it.
The latest release of Hammer gives us access to Templates. Templates can be submitted by anybody, and are a way to get going even quicker with a project. A fantastic template that’s available right now is Andy Clarke’s template called Rock Hammer. I’ve dabbled with it, and was blown away by the care Andy has put into the project, even down to the finest details. Comments are also really clear and succinct, so you’ll be able to quickly get to grips with it.
Really fast. In fact, when I was building the template for this site, I couldn’t believe I’d finished it so quickly!
So there you have it, Hammer for Mac is brilliant. There are similar products out there I know, such as CodeKit, but for me Hammer is just perfect for what I want to use it for.